Homemade Kimchi

I LOVE KIMCHI. It’s so flavorful and you can put it on so many things! If you haven’t had kimchi before, it is raw cabbage (often mixed with other shredded vegetables) that becomes naturally fermented after marinating in garlic, ginger, and Korean chili spices after a few days. It’s rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and is a good source of probiotics. It is also very easy to make! For my first try, I ended up using Mama O’s Kimchi Paste from Brooklyn Kitchen which was very easy and delicious! I totally recommend giving homemade kimchi a try!

1 medium head napa cabbage
1/4 cup sea salt
1 daikon radish, cut into matchsticks (about 1 cup)
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks (about 1 cup)
4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 jar Mama O’s Kimchi Paste
1/4 cup water
2 large mason jars plus lids

To start, cut the cabbage in half lengthwise, and then once more, making 4 strips. Next, cut each strip into 2 inch pieces, tossing the core at the end. In a large bowl, mix the cabbage and salt together with your hands. Cover with water (you want to use filtered or spring water) and place a bowl or plate on top to ensure the cabbage is completely submerged. Let sit for 2 hours. This will help the cabbage to soften up a bit.

Next, rinse the cabbage really well under cold water, then let strain for 20 minutes. Try to get out as much water as you can. Add the cabbage to a large bowl, and toss in the radish, carrot, and scallions. Pour in the entire jar of paste, followed by the water. Using gloves (unless you don’t mind red hot hands) mix and massage the paste into the cabbage and vegetables. Fill each jar with the kimchi, pushing it down with your hands. You want to leave at least 1-2 inches of space from the top. Seal with the lid, and let sit at room temp for 1-2 days. You may notice some bubbles while it is fermenting, this is totally normal and OK. After a day or two, taste the kimchi and determine whether it is to your liking. You can let it sit for up for 5 days depending on the flavor you’re looking for. Once your kimchi is ready, pop it right in the fridge! At this point it is ready to eat, but will of course deepen in flavor the longer you have it. ENJOY!

Parsnip Carrot Muffins

What to do with an excess amount of parsnips and carrots? Make muffins! I love making a “kitchen sink” type of muffin, and throwing in random things I have in the fridge and pantry. This time I added dates and crystallized ginger that I had on hand. They came out great! Plus you don’t feel bad about eating a million of them because they have vegetables in them……right?!! Right.

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Dash of turmeric
Dash of black pepper (which will activate the benefits of the turmeric)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup apple sauce
6 oz Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5-6 dates, pitted and chopped
5 pieces crystallized ginger, chopped
2 large parsnips, peeled and grated
2-3 small carrots, peeled and grated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients, including the spices. In a separate bowl, mix together the grated parsnips and carrots, dates, ginger, eggs, yogurt, water, apple sauce, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold until batter forms. It will be thick! If you feel it is too thick, you can add bit of water to thin it out a little. Grease a muffin pan with non-stick spray (I like to use coconut oil) and fill each tin with equal amounts of batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry. Enjoy with some butter and/or a drizzle of honey!

Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

I headed over to my friend Meghan’s house Friday night with a bunch of random items from my fridge to see what we could come up with. We ended up making this delicious deconstructed stuffed cabbage. Normally for stuffed cabbage, you wrap up the filling inside a cabbage leave and bake it in the oven, but we just chopped up the cabbage and cooked it all together in a casserole dish. It was a fast and easy, and really delicious! We ate it over a bed of fresh spinach and a good squeeze of lemon on top.

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 small shallot
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and shaved into strips
1 small cabbage, roughly chopped (about 4 cups)
2 cups Swiss chard, stems removed and chopped
2 cups cooked rice pilaf (or grain of your choice)
14.5oz can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Good pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon 5-spice powder (cinnamon, fennel, star anise, clove, white pepper)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 lemon
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Start by blanching the cabbage until softened. Drain and set aside. Make the rice and also set that aside.

In a large pan, saute the beef with the onion, shallot, and garlic. Cook until the beef is browned and cooked through. Next, add the diced tomatoes, followed by all the spices. Cook for 5 minutes. Next, add the cooked rice, cabbage, carrots, Swiss chard, and lemon juice. Cook for another 5 minutes. Pour half of the mixture into a casserole dish, then sprinkle with a layer of Parmesan cheese, top with the rest of the mixture, and another later of cheese.

Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and slightly golden. Serve as is or over some fresh spinach like we did!

Slow-Cooked Portuguese Cacoila

While home in Rhode Island for Christmas, my mom taught me how to make Portuguese cacoila, which is a slow-cooked pulled pork made with fresh orange juice and a lot of spices! Any meal that requires you to simply toss all the ingredients in slow-cooker for 6-8 hours is pretty much magic. It is a great meal to make on a lazy day, or in my moms case, when all your kids are home and rummaging through your kitchen every 2-3 hours looking for food! My great-grandparents were both from the Azores, and I am incredibly grateful that my mom and grandmother have shared so many wonderful family recipes with me over the years. I’m hoping to get Portuguese kale soup on here soon for you, too!

5-6 lbs Boston butt pork roast, or pork shoulder
6 oranges, juiced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3/4 cup red wine
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Start by trimming the fat on the roast. You want to leave some of it, as it will add flavor, but trim the large bits off. Cut the roast into large chunks. Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate (covered) for at least 12 hours. Next, add all the ingredients to a slow cooker and cook for 6-8 hours. Alternatively, you can use a dutch oven and cook for 4 hours in the oven at 325 degrees. Lastly, break up and shred the pork! My mom serves the cacoila on soft rolls with freshly sliced onion. And it is heavenly.

Thanks mom for sharing another recipe!